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Riding the Bus with My Sister

Average Rating 4
( 35 )
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(15)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Riding the Bus of Life

Rachel Simmons is a 40 year old woman, who is unhappy with her busy, work driven schedule. Rachel decides to go on bus rides with her mentally challenged sister, Beth. Over a year¿s time of riding the city buses each day, both Rachel and Beth learn life lessons from eac...
Rachel Simmons is a 40 year old woman, who is unhappy with her busy, work driven schedule. Rachel decides to go on bus rides with her mentally challenged sister, Beth. Over a year¿s time of riding the city buses each day, both Rachel and Beth learn life lessons from each others different life styles and personalities. Rachel learns to take a seat and enjoy the ride of life. She also learns what other people think doesn¿t matter and understanding others can make life worthwhile. This book is a great read, which makes a person wonder if they are living life in the fast lane or taking time to smell the roses. I liked how this book teaches so many lessons, about learning how to understand, having patients and dealing with frustrations as well as making you want to live in the present moment not the future or past. I also loved how it is easy for the reader to connect with both Rachel and Beth. Each character is given characteristics that everyone can relate to. For example with Beth it¿s the feeling of being unwanted at times and Rachel not putting what¿s important in life first. This book is slow at times and is the only reason someone might not want to read this novel. Other than that you should read this book, if you need a little inspiration in life, as well as a few tears. Now that you know about this great book, grab a copy and start reading.

posted by Anonymous on October 22, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

5 stars???

I chose to read this book after having read all the wonderful reviews posted on this website. Unfortunately, this book turned out to be a huge disappointment. If I could give it zero stars I would. I found it excruciatingly difficult to get through, and I had to force m...
I chose to read this book after having read all the wonderful reviews posted on this website. Unfortunately, this book turned out to be a huge disappointment. If I could give it zero stars I would. I found it excruciatingly difficult to get through, and I had to force myself to finish it. The story line is bland and uninspiring. Furthermore, I don't know what city this is where bus drivers are would-be philosophers who dole out sappy proverbs on a daily basis and say things like 'The only thing that's going to satisfy me is to do good in this life.' Right, because bus drivers say things like that... Its only saving grace was that it was a short read, since overall this book was a waste of my time.

posted by Anonymous on June 12, 2005

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2007

    Riding the Bus of Life

    Rachel Simmons is a 40 year old woman, who is unhappy with her busy, work driven schedule. Rachel decides to go on bus rides with her mentally challenged sister, Beth. Over a year¿s time of riding the city buses each day, both Rachel and Beth learn life lessons from each others different life styles and personalities. Rachel learns to take a seat and enjoy the ride of life. She also learns what other people think doesn¿t matter and understanding others can make life worthwhile. This book is a great read, which makes a person wonder if they are living life in the fast lane or taking time to smell the roses. I liked how this book teaches so many lessons, about learning how to understand, having patients and dealing with frustrations as well as making you want to live in the present moment not the future or past. I also loved how it is easy for the reader to connect with both Rachel and Beth. Each character is given characteristics that everyone can relate to. For example with Beth it¿s the feeling of being unwanted at times and Rachel not putting what¿s important in life first. This book is slow at times and is the only reason someone might not want to read this novel. Other than that you should read this book, if you need a little inspiration in life, as well as a few tears. Now that you know about this great book, grab a copy and start reading.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 21, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Riding the Bus with My Sister by Rachel Simon is about the autho

    Riding the Bus with My Sister by Rachel Simon is about the author's true story of riding public transportation with her sister, Beth, who has a mild cognitive disability (referred to in the book as mild retardation).  

    Does the author's name ring a bell?  It should, because Rachel Simon also wrote The Story of Beautiful Girl, which was fiction. 

    Beth, Rachel's sister, is capable of living alone and even has a boyfriend.  She lives off of wages from the state because her disability prevents her from being able to hold a full-time job.  However, Rachel, and the rest of the family, feel like Beth has the ability to hold a part-time job, many of which she starts but seems to sabotage so that she can be work-free.  

    But Beth also is unable to care for herself in certain ways.  She has some illnesses that need addressing, like eye drops, but isn't capable (or doesn't want to) put them in regularly.  She also eats terribly, snacking on junk food and staying away from anything even remotely healthy. 

    In Riding the Bus with My Sister, Rachel comes along on Beth's obsessive bus-riding journey.  A few times a month, Rachel takes time to drive to her sister and ride along the complicated bus route that Beth has mastered.  Rachel experiences people's welcoming, and disapproval, of Beth in many ways, including in many of the bus drivers.  

    But other bus drivers have taken a liking to Beth, and through those bus drivers, and the journey she takes, Rachel discovers that the year isn't about helping Beth as much as it is a story about Rachel finding herself.  

    Riding the Bus with My Sister isn't an exhilarating, can't-put-down kind of read.  But that doesn't make it any less valuable of a book.  

    What I found most valuable were the life lessons that Rachel learned, lessons and reminders of being a good person, that I could incorporate into my own life. 

    Thanks for reading, 

    Rebecca @ Love at First Book

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  • Posted January 10, 2014

    Wonderful service/shipping

    Book was for a Christmas gift but VERY VERY pleased with the service/shipping. Ordered it on-line because nobody had copies and within 2 days it was the UPS box and under the tree a hour later. Will DEFINATELY be using B&N again!!

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  • Posted June 26, 2012

    Recommended

    I enjoyed this book very much. It really makes you aware of other people's situations in life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    Inspiring but had a little bit more potential

    I read this book as an outside reading nonfiction assignment for school. The book was very interesting in terms of concept and very intriguing but i believe it could have had more captivating writing. The writing was simple and easy to understand, but i think simon could have delved a little deeper into the story and how it changed her instead of how she merely retold it in events. The concept is great though, and the book is inspiring based on the lessons and the way beth carried herself. I did get a little frustrated with rachel though! It was interesting with the interludes. Overall, it was a pretty good book but i feel could have been a little more philosophical. I would say take it out of the library to read as it is worth reading but don't pay 15 dollars ;)

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  • Posted October 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Loved the book so much that I am now reading the sequel.

    From a rough childhood to a point where she begins to accept herself carries the reader through this true story. Rachel commits to riding a bus with her mentally disabled sister, Beth, for a year. Beth rides local busses every day and knows all of the local drivers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2006

    God Bless Rachel

    I really enjoyed this book. I loved Simon's writing style. So fluid. I must be a terrible person because Beth irritated me more then I felt compassion for her. I wanted to shake her! I wanted to scream GET A JOB! Rachel had the patience of a saint even when she faltered she didn't give up on herself or Beth and I really admired her. I think it was more a story about Rachel then Beth, but never self-serving on Rachel's part. For me, the lesson learned was from Rachel's journey, not Beth's. I thought the family stories were an excellent addition to the bus riding storyline. I liked them more. Having said that I will never look at a developmentally disabled person the same way again, or a bus driver for that matter. It was a touching story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2005

    an inspiring read!

    This story was truly inspiring - Rachel's ability to form such a close relationship with her sister by just becoming more open-minded showed me that can apply not just to understanding disabled people better but all people, especially those whom we may judge too quickly. A great vacation/beach read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2004

    Accepting Who I Am

    Rachel Simon is a woman in her late 30¿s to early 40¿s, living alone. She is unhappy with herself and lifestyle, which consists of writing and teaching all day long in Philadelphia. Beth, her sister with mental retardation, invites Rachel to attend her ¿Plan of Care¿ meeting, just after Rachel writes an article about riding the bus with sister, Beth. Just after this scheduled meeting, Beth challenges Rachel to ride the bus with her for a year, but they agree to two times a week for a year. This also meant sleeping over at Beth¿s apartment on sofa cushions that were set up on the floor. On these bus rides, Rachel learns little ¿facts of life¿ lessons from each of the bus drivers that Beth shares her rides with. Rachel is soon to realize and accepts just who her sister and herself truly is. She understands and learns to be content, to work at her faults to make them better, and not to be afraid of what leads her to happiness. A few things I didn¿t like about this book was that it was slow at times. The book¿s progress in dialog could have been hindered by my lack of understanding at the beginning of the book and because it was confusing. Another possibility could be because I was confused by one of the extra books changing of tense from present to past childhood memories. I didn¿t like the fact that Rachel was shallow at times. Rachel also had a hard time accepting her sister for who she was and was too afraid of everyone else¿s thoughts. There are much more positives, than I had dislikes about. This book ends with a happy note and Rachel changes. Rachel learns how to be happy, and camas¿s to find out that she wasn¿t the only one with siblings that have mental disabilities. Beth Also changes, she learns that she words can hurt more than she thinks they will. Beth sees how being difficult and stubborn pushes her family away. In conclusion, I liked this book a lot and would recommend it to family with a disabled person.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2002

    Touching and thoughtful

    There is a passage on love in particular that is touching. It talks about the love Jesse and Beth share and how they define it. We would all be happier if we we able to love and and be loved like that. A good read.

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    Posted November 13, 2008

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    Posted June 22, 2011

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    Posted October 2, 2011

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    Posted August 3, 2011

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